Devon Bat Survey 2021

Devon Bat Survey 2021

Tom Marshall

The Devon Bat Survey is back!

Devon Bat Survey was a Devon-wide citizen science project brought to you by the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project.  While the Greater Horseshoe Bat Project ended earlier this year, we are pleased to announce that Devon Bat Survey is back, brought you through Devon Biodiversity Records Centre.  For more information on the other work that DBRC do for wildlife please visit their website:   

This year Devon Bat Survey aims to find out what bats are about in 4 of the Saving Devon’s Treescapes core areas: Exeter & Cranbrook, Coly Valleys, Torbay and Malborough. To take part please have a read of the instructions below and then click on the link to book a detector.

Saving Devon's Treescapes project areas

How does it work?

Devon Bat Survey aims to give as many people across Devon the opportunity to find out what bats are about near them.  Anyone in the Saving Devon’s Treescapes areas can borrow a bat detector for 3-5 nights between June and October 2021.  We usually allow 1 survey per monad (1 x 1km square) per person so that as many people as possible can take part.  Surveyors book a detector and survey slot via our bookings page, then collect the detector from their allocated host centre.  The detector comes with easy instructions for setup, and is pre-programmed to record bat echolocation calls each night.  Surveyors then return the detector to the host centre and freepost the SD card containing the sound files back to us, so that we can analyse the recordings and send you a survey report of all the species that were found at your site.

We are very grateful to the Halpin Trust for supporting Saving Devon’s Treescapes, giving us the opportunity to carry on Devon Bat Survey in 2021.

What to do

1. Please have a read of the Risk Assessment we have provided, which includes our Covid-19 safety precautions.

2. Click on the orange button below to fill in your details for the survey. Once you have clicked ‘submit’ on the wufoo form, you will be directed to the survey square bookings page where you can book your survey square.  PLEASE NOTE we can only accept blue survey squares at the moment – if you would like to survey in other locations please get in touch via

3. You will receive a confirmation of your booking via email within 2 business days – if you have not received a response please do check your junk inbox before getting in touch via

4. The confirmation email will contain a link to book your bat detector survey date and the location where you will pick up and return the detector.  Follow the link to request a survey slot from one of the host centres and wait for us to send you a booking confirmation via email.

To take part in the Devon Bat Survey, click here


  • A risk assessment has been prepared which all borrowers must read and action – read the Risk Assessment here.

  • If you have already booked, here’s a reminder of the Monitoring Centre details 2021.

  • If the recording sheets in the equipment box have run out you can download one here.

  • Full instructions for borrowers are found here. Check our FAQs for commonly asked questions.

  • If you are organising a survey on land that is not your own, please download our permission form and introduction letter here.


How long until I get the results from my survey?

This will depend on how many recordings you have and how many surveys we have been carrying out.  We aim to email you your survey report within 6 weeks of receiving the data.  If you have not received your report by then, do check your junk mail before getting in touch with us via

What is the data used for?

The confirmed bat species records are submitted to Devon Biodiversity Records Centre, which Devon Wildlife Trust, other organisations and the public can access.  The data can then be used to help conservation efforts, scientific research, inform planning proposals and much more.  For more information head to Devon Biodiversity Records Centre’s website:

Is the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat project still going?

After 5 years supporting Devon’s bats, Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project came to an end in January 2021.  It was a hugely successful project thanks to everyone who took part.  We would very much like to find funding to keep the community engagement, land advice and citizen science aspects of the project going in the future.

Find out more about the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat project

I didn’t get any bats in my garden, will I still be added to the survey?

Although it can be disappointing if no bats were recorded during your survey, it does not mean that there are no bats about near you.  Bats can use different areas of their home range so may have been absent on the 3 nights of the whole year that you surveyed.  Sometimes it is too cold or wet for bats and their insect prey, so they will not be very active. Very rarely there can be a problem with the bat detector.  On the rare occasion when no bats are recorded, we will do our best to give you another chance to take part, so will be in touch if any other survey slots are available.

What bats were found last year?

Last year we found all the species and species groups that live in Devon – at least 10 species so far!  There are actually 16 species found in Devon, but 6 of these are very tricky to tell apart so we hope to identify more soon as we look at the data in more detail.  We have thousands of these tricky calls to look at, so if you would like to help us identify bat recordings, please get in touch via

What COVID procedures are in place?

We are committed to making Devon Bat Survey as safe as possible, with all host centres operating either outdoors or with clear Covid-19 indoor safety guidelines.  We provide hand sanitiser with each kit box and have clear instructions to keep you as safe as possible while using the bat detector equipment – for more information please have a read of our Risk Assessment.

Where can I pick up a detector?

In 2021 you will be able to book a detector from 4 locations in Devon – please see the map above for more information.

I want to help bats in my garden, how can I do this?

There are lots of ways you can help bats in your garden – did you know that some of our rarer bat species are sensitive to light?  Turning off (or having motion sensor) outside lights, insect friendly gardening and maybe even making your own bat box can help your local bats.  To find out more visit the Devon Greater Horseshoe Bat Project page here.